Nooks & Crannies, Summer Edition

Check out these unusual and inventive stores around our area.

Karisma Boutique, Naperville
Karisma Boutique, Naperville

Karisma Boutique
232 S. Washington St., Naperville, (630) 355-5554

Word is getting around: Not only is this THE place to come for jewelry, but for great customer service. “Customers come in just about every single day and bring new people with them,” says owner Ginger Makowski, who opened in 2009.

Little wonder, with the selection. Earrings, necklaces and bracelets: dangly and stud, precious metals and stones, costume and real, leather and braided, any color desired.

But it’s oh so much more. Sundresses and evening gowns in brands like T Party. Izzy sandals and other designer footwear. Bags and purses from makers like Nicole Lee, in embellished denim for every day, beaded and silk for evening, and leather in owl and rose shapes for whimsy. Light blouses and cover-ups in cottons and silks; knit pull-overs and shrugs. Sunhats, caps and headbands. Scarves, hairclips, watches.

“I don’t carry any multiples, so you won’t see yourself coming or going,” says Makowski. “I find small niche designers, and I use local artisans as well, for jewelry, scarves and knit tops.”

Customizable is big at Karisma, where staff members do the work of personal shoppers, hunting down just the right accessory to complement an outfit. They even do alterations. Hours: Sat., Mon.-Wed. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Thurs.-Fri. to 8 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Quilt in Joy, Huntley, Ill.
Quilt in Joy, Huntley, Ill.

Quilt In Joy
10709 W. Dundee Road, Huntley, (847) 669-1722,

We’re known for our batiks and children’s prints,” says owner Kathi Dayon. “When I bought the shop, I did a focus group of 12 area quilters who said they wanted brights and batiks, and it’s been the result every year since.”

Bolts hold vivid stripes, eye-popping polka dots and bold florals, paisley prints, geometrics and patterns in colors ranging from bright primary colors to pastels and earth tones. The inventory is 20 percent batik, with hard-to-find patterns and colors, as well as an array of children’s fabrics for baby or children’s quilts.

Theres’ a full line of notions, a wide selection of thread, buttons, patterns, how-to books and other accessories. Classes are offered for all skill levels. “We teach a Grandma & Me quilting class, for adults with children ages 5-8, and they make a nine-patch baby quilt,” says Dayon. “We have five sewing machines, or you can BYO.” Dayon supports the community through quilting. “Girl Scouts and Brownies come in to make pillowcases for homeless shelters or work on other charity projects.”

Customers benefit from Dayon’s 40 years of quilting experience and her equally knowledgeable staff. “We give a lot of advice,” Dayon says. “It’s part of the business – and lots of fun!” Hours are Mon.-Wed., Fri. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thurs. to 7 p.m.; Sat. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Fox Valley Homebrew & Winery Supplies
Fox Valley Homebrew & Winery Supplies

Fox Valley Homebrew & Winery Supplies
14 W. Downer Place, Aurora, (630) 892-0742

Owner Fred Harrison has been operating his business for almost nine years, four in his current location and five on the corner of Broadway and Galena.

Malts, extracts, grains, yeast, kegs, beer and wine bottles, caps and labels, grape and fruit bases and fruit purees, oak chips, corks and cork machines, fermenters, brewing pots, cooling coils, thermometers, funnels, test equipment – everything a home brewer or vintner could want.

The store has several beer and wine kits in stock, but customers can order from a selection of about 300, with delivery in about a week.

For true do-it-yourselfers, Harrison sells how-to books and DVDs. For those who want more guidance, he and other staff members hold classes in the kitchen in the back of the store. Wine classes of one to five people run $59 (plus ingredients) for four, two-hour sessions; beer sessions are $50 for two, two-hour sessions. Class size is flexible.

Hours: Mon.-Fri. 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.- 3 p.m.

Peaceful Parlour, Geneva, Ill.
Peaceful Parlour, Geneva, Ill.

Peaceful Parlor
212 S. Third St., Geneva, (630) 232-6300,

ntering this eco-chic boutique, with the sweet aroma of herbal tea and incense, along with soothing sitar music, is like taking a deep, cleansing breath. Not only that, it’s filled with stylish and trendy jewelry, clothing accessories, cards and stationery, kitchen items, toys, body products, teas, herbal remedies and more.

Even better, the items are environmentally friendly and come from ethical sources. Owner Shari Ralish strives to stock only fair trade items, meaning that the worker was paid a living wage for the work. She gets much of the jewelry and paintings from local artisans, and as much as possible, she purchases gourmet food items from regional suppliers, such as the local-sourced honey and the loose tea from Wisconsin.

“I believe it’s important to support our region, and offer shoppers alternative green options,” says Ralish, who formerly worked in construction management.

The “future-friendly general store” also emphasizes green products that are repurposed or made with renewable natural materials, from drinking glasses fashioned from empty wine bottles, hemp baskets and eco-friendly bath products, to items such as glass straws and bamboo “sporks.”

Ralish specializes in blending teas and herbs to create infusions that provide specific benefits, like renewed energy or relief from joint pain, advising customers and even holding classes. She also collects wine corks for recycling.

Hours: Mon-Sat 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun 11:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.